Boundaries

There is a major confusion among Christians on the difference between loving your neighbor and enabling them. We chide ourselves for being selfish when we feel annoyed at the friend calling us to help yet again, we believe that we should be self-sacrificing with our time and say yes to everything and everyone who needs us.

Being compliant on the outside when feeling helplessly torn on the inside creates resentment in the heart. Not having boundaries results in the depletion of our joy and surprisingly strains our relationship with God.

Jesus did not come to make us spineless doormats. He came that we might have a life of abundance to the point of overflow through being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to emulate the character of Jesus.

Studying how Jesus handled daily situations is the best way to learn how to truly behave like a Christian (Christ imitator.) Jesus had great boundaries. Setting boundaries is important because it trains people how to treat you.

Christian Psychologist, Dr. Henry Cloud compares us to a residential property. If a home doesn’t have fences or doors, people can trample on your grass, ride their bikes through your flowers and let their animals wreak havoc in your yard. Burglars wouldn’t even have to break in since there was no door. Neighbors would come over unexpectedly and wouldn’t even have to knock because they had been conditioned to just let themselves in.

How is that analogy playing out in your life right now? Do you feel like you have to say yes to everything? Do you feel guilty for saying no or even afraid that you won’t be needed anymore or unbearable conflict would arise?

Here are 4 biblical truths to help you set Godly boundaries in your life. Many of this teaching is based on the book, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud.

1. Develop The Control of Your Self-Property:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:23-23
Being a pleaser is usually someone who is compliant on the outside and resentful on the inside and does not practice the spirit of self-control. Just like God doesn’t force anyone to change, you can’t force anyone to change either. However, you are in control of the property of you. As a protector of your heart and its’ treasures, you absolutely have the right to accept or not accept certain behavior on your emotional property. You can’t change anyone or force them to change, but you can maintain the boundaries of your self-property and let them know that their behavior is not acceptable with you.

2. Guard Your Heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flows the wellspring of life. –Proverbs 4:23
Although Jesus said that we should operate as a unified community, there are always separate properties in a community. When properties have fences, they are there to let the good in and keep the bad out. It is important to guard our well-being from intruders or clingers, but equally important to receive goodness, help and love by letting it in through opening the gate.
Jesus also says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” -Matthew 7:6. This means if you’re wisdom, advice and time are not appreciated and valued by someone, by all means stop wasting it because you will eventually be hurt and left broken.

3. Know the Difference Between A Boulder and a Load:
This is my favorite one. Carry each other’s burdens,” says Galatians 6:2, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” This verse shows our responsibility to one another. Verse 5 goes on to say, that “each one should carry his own load.” The greek words for “burden” and “load” gives us insight into how to apply this to setting Godly boundaries.

The greek word for burden means, “excess burden” or burdens so heavy they weigh us down. This is when we are responsible to helping someone carry weight they can not carry on their own.
The greek word for “load” is “cargo” or burden of daily toil. These are the daily responsibilities that need to be carried out in order to function in life.

In this scripture, Jesus is calling us to help people do what they can not do for themselves, because that is what he did for us. However, we are each responsible for doing what we are capable of doing.
A good deciphering rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you are being asked to do something they are not ableto do or to do something they don’t want to do

There is danger in confusing helping someone with an excess burden and enabling a daily toil. Stepping in and not allowing someone to take responsibility for their self-property (self-control) takes away the natural opportunity to be empowered or sharpened in crisis.

4. Check Your Motives

If you are driven to do something out of any motive other than pure love and to bring glory to God… don’t do it at all.
Many of us know that we are being taken advantage of, even by the sweetest, most well-meaning people. Yet, we continue to drive ourselves crazy, dropping everything in order to come to their aid. Why do we do this? Some of us fear that if we stop helping, we will no longer be needed or will cause conflict and therefore will be discarded.
Here is a remedy for a fear of rejection or disrupted peace:

“Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Matt 10:11-14.

Jesus told his followers if a town rejects you, leave the town and shake the dust off your feet. He doesn’t tell them to stay and take abuse.

Setting boundaries is not being mean, it’s having self-respect. You cannot effectively love if you do not sustain your mental, emotional and spiritual health. Be prepared that some people will not adapt to your new boundaries well, which is fine. If someone leaves you because of your boundaries, then that was not a healthy relationship in the first place and you need to let the “bad” out of your fence to make room for the good to come in.

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Just a thought…


He who is grateful is never truly poor, and he who isn’t is never truly
rich.

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20 things I learned at 20

“20 things I learned at 20

1. You can have only one best friend and that best friend can only be you. Because you may come across a dozen lovely people but the only one who can keep the ‘forever’ promise is you.

2. Family is the most important. This is the only love that is truly unconditional and absolutely pure. They love you when you’re 5 and when you’re 18. They love you in your failure and your success. Their love doesn’t increase because it’s already at its maximum right from the beginning, it’s already infinite.

3. Cocktails and aerated drinks may soothe your taste buds but tea soothes your entire body. It’s warm and calming and well, healthy.

4. Your first kiss means nothing if it’s not with the right person. And the right person doesn’t mean your soulmate or someone who will never break your heart but someone who in that moment loves you as much as you love them.

5. You’ve written over 350 exams and you’ve got a perfect score in some and scored miserably in others but do you remember your 9th grade math score? Do you even remember 9th grade math? Education is so important but not the stress and competitive grading that comes along with it. If you get a low score or even fail, not much will happen – you will get a retest. But if you get ill – mentally or physically, it will have undesired long term effects.

6. In 8th grade your school psychologist told you that you’re one of the few people who walk in life with open arms loving and helping everyone, not because you haven’t bled but because you know you will heal and have the strength to do so. At that point you laughed at her but now, years later you’re loving, accepting and helping in spite of having both, actual and metaphorical scars.

You’re kind and admitting that doesn’t make you conceited.

7. Goodbyes don’t always have to be dramatic. Writing an 800 words message won’t make it hurt any less than an 8 words one. Closure usually has not much to do with the ones who wronged you but with taking your time in dealing with all the stages of grief. Some stage like anger may take only a month but acceptance may take years and that’s okay.

8. Jealousy is a basic human trait. They can be the closest to you and yet envy your happiness and life. Envy is something you too experience and you can be happy for them and be sad for yourself at the same time because so bitter it is to view happiness from someone else’s eyes. You aren’t a horrible human being if you feel like there are better shades of green your grass could be.

9. Read at your own desire and pace.

You don’t have to read particular books to qualify as a bibliophile or read a specific number of books to be a bookworm either. Read what truly interests you and take your time because reading was never a task, don’t make it one now.

10. Money is important. Money can’t buy love but it can buy happiness. But not blood money. Money honestly earned through hard work. That kind of money is good, that kind of money is required. You have a certain standard of living and if you want to maintain that after your parents stop financing you, you must make sure to earn the same. It doesn’t make you a snob or a spoiled brat, it only makes you a human aware of your wants, many of which have turned into needs by now.

11. There are somethings you just never grow out of like bubbles and glitter and your mother’s hot chocolate and hugs. Those are the kind of things that make life bearable when adulting gets too hard. Those are the little things that matter the most.

12. You cry. A lot.

But you don’t cry in front of people for their pity. You don’t cry to manipulate situations. You cry because you accept the pain. You cry because you don’t reject or lock away your emotions. You cry because your mental, emotional and physical self are in sync and that’s healthy. That’s so lovely.

13. Bake cakes. They don’t have to look pretty as long as they taste delicious. Paint canvases. They don’t have to be a master piece as long as all the paint in your hands and face and jeans makes you feel complete. Write more. It doesn’t have to a novel or even be posted online as long as it lets you breathe a little lighter and smile wider.

14. Go for walks alone, sit on the beach without your headphones, look up at the sky without a lover, buy flowers for yourself. Nature is legit free (for the most part). And it’s the richest thing that the world has. Le it bring you peace, let it help you survive.

15. Make home feel home. Sometimes you won’t have your family to make it home. Sometimes you will have to make it home by putting a part of yourself and that means investing the time, energy and money in making it feel yours, in making it feel right. It may not be your ‘dream house’, it may just be a tiny room but it’s yours. Your surroundings play a major role in affecting your mood and vibe.

16. Energy is real.

You may not know much about Science beyond 10th grade but you do know this, e=mc ² which means everything is energy, you are energy and there is positive and negative energy and you can feel it and you experience it in every person you meet, every place you visit, every room you step inside. You can and you must choose to surround yourself with positive energy. What you attract, you do get; what you attract you become.

17. Spend time with yourself. It’s some of the best time you will have. You need to unwind, you need it to re-energize, you need it to focus and you need it for peace. You can go to a cafe by yourself, write, read, meditate, talk to yourself out loud, dance in your underwear, cook and just be.

18. Take care of yourself- no one else can, no one else will. Drink loads of water, there’s a reason why more than half your body is made up of water. Sleep well because staying up all night isn’t something to be proud of, it’s stupid. Don’t skip breakfast because skipping breakfast makes you crave fatty foods for the rest of the day. Stay healthy not because you want to look a certain way but because you want to feel strong and energetic and have an active mind, body and heart. Staying healthy emotionally and mentally is just as important. So let those who want to go, go and never say yes to something your gut wants to scream ‘NO’ to.

19. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself you will look for other people to love you. If you don’t accept yourself, you will keep seeking other people’s validation and the moment they withdraw it or walk away, you will crumble. And you don’t want to crumble. You want to enjoy the one person’s company you have to live with forever – yourself. Work on being a person you’d love to spend your life with because let’s face it, you don’t have a choice. It’s a long term investment and the only one that will never fail you.

20. In Shakespeare’s words, “To thine own self be true”. In order to love yourself, knowing yourself is very important. And knowing yourself doesn’t mean the adjectives that people use for you or what your zodiac sign says about you. It means what you know in your heart to be your truth.

One more for good luck?

21. You laughed and thought it was very witty when you came across the quote, ‘Don’t take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.’

but god. Can it be any truer? Most things you’re stressing over now won’t even matter 3 years from now. But good days will turn into heart-warming memories that will stay with you even 2 decades later.

Happiness and success are two different things but remember, they aren’t mutually exclusive. At least they don’t have to be.”

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Personal Prison

The worst kind of prison that a person can be in, is a prison to self. Being in bondage to someone or something that it leaves you desperate for something or someone else. Or it also leaves you so desperate in your self, with no peace and no hope.

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How to get to Heaven in 10 minutes…

How to Get to Heaven in 10 Minutes
Have you ever really thought about eternity?  This is a big concept to grasp since we can only really visualize our world from what we see in our own lives in the time that we live them.  But imagine the 70 or so years of your life as a little dot on the timeline of eternity.  Now, imagine drawing that dot on a piece of paper.  Now, from that dot draw a line across the page and imagine that line going across the street where you are at now, and past where you can see and out into space.  Well that line of time that we call eternity is going to go on forever, but the little amount of time we spend on earth is only that dot.  So the real question is, where are we going to spend eternity, and what is it that we do on this earth that will determine where we spend eternity?  So this begs the obvious questions about God, heaven, hell, and a lot of philosophical thinking.  Since eternity is a very long time one would have to say that the issue of eternity is an important topic to contemplate.  So let’s ask the obvious question first.  Is there a God?  Well you could put up the argument that there is no God, but what if you are wrong?  Is the determination of where you spend eternity worth taking that kind of chance?

Again, we ask ourselves the question “Is there a God?   Let’s look at a simple example.  Suppose you were walking in the woods one day, and you walk up to a stump in the forest and see a mobile phone lying on the stump.  So how do you suppose the phone got there?  Do you say to yourself that there are all kinds of metals and plastics on the earth, and given enough time these metals and plastics would eventually form in the shapes of transistors, memory chips, buttons and LED screens?  So you conclude that eventually this phone would form itself and appear on this stump.  Most people would think that this assumption would be absurd.  The more likely explanation is that someone had put the phone there.  Now consider the complexity of a human being.  All of the cells, organs, senses, bones, nerves and DNA all coming together to make a person.  Not just a mechanical object , but a person that thinks and feels and loves and cries.  Would something that is so much more complex than a phone just form by itself given enough time?

Well, for arguments’ sake, let’s say that there is a God.  Now we need to think about heaven and determine what the requirements are to get into heaven.  We could say that all we have to do is live a decent life, don’t do anything terrible, and God will certainly let me into heaven because God is a loving being and wouldn’t want any good people to miss out on heaven.  But to be fair, we must also say that God is a just being, and must punish bad people for what they have done.  So, in order to deal with this, we set up a nice points system.  Do some good deeds, get some points.  Do some really good deeds and get a lot of points.  Do some bad things and you lose some points.  So go ahead and live your life and if you get enough points at the end of it, you win the big prize and get into heaven.  But what if you miss the total by one point?  You told one extra little lie that caused you to miss the point total.  Now you spend eternity in hell all because of that one extra lie, or bad thing that you had done.  What if you had a pretty bad life, but turned yourself around so that you started building up points toward the right direction.  Sounds pretty good except what if you get hit by a bus before you catch up on your point total.  Well it seems like the point system has some flaws in it, so what if we try another idea.

Suppose the real ticket to heaven is simply to be able to answer a simple question and you get in.  So imagine that God is standing up at the gates of heaven when you walk up, and he says to you:  “Answer this simple question and you get to spend eternity in paradise, otherwise, you spend eternity in hell.”  And the question is this:  “What does two plus two equal?” Well there were a lot of schools down there on earth and some taught that two plus two equaled four, but some taught that it equaled three, or five, or seven.  Well you happened to have gone to a school that taught that two plus two equals seven.  Your whole life, you believed this and never looked into seeing if it was could have possibly been anything else.  But when you answer, you find out that your answer is wrong.  Nobody ever told you that two plus two equaled four, and now you are doomed.  Similarly, you may want to think that believing in one thing or another will get you into heaven, but what if there is only one way to heaven just as there is one right answer to that simple math question?  What if the question that God asks is something entirely different?  Suppose the question posed by God is something as simple as “Why should I let you into my heaven?”  Well we know that the point system doesn’t work too well, so there must be a better answer.  Now we have to ask another question, and that question is; who makes up the rules to get into heaven?  Well, since we already assumed that there is a God, and he made heaven, and everything else, I don’t think that we can say that we each individually get to make up our own set of rules to get into heaven.  Therefore we’ll let God make up the rules to get into heaven since he created heaven in the first place.

When we think about this, we may now start to think that maybe something makes sense about all of this.  So we decide that whatever God wants me to do to get into heaven, I’ll do it, except that he has never told me what to do.  Suppose God decided that he would tell everybody one time the way to get into heaven, and people could just decide if they wanted to do it or not.  He certainly could tell everyone individually how to get into heaven, but that wouldn’t require any faith on anybody’s part.  Since God is God he can do this any way he wants, so let’s say that he is going to tell everyone about the way to heaven just one time.  Now ask yourself another question, if God came down to earth and told you the way to get to heaven, would you do it?  I think that most people would if they were able to talk to God face to face.  What if he had already done it years ago and some people told you about it, would you still do it?

So now we come to the basic question.  If you were to die today, are you certain that you would go to heaven?  That’s a serious question to ponder, because there is no guarantee that you will see tomorrow.  You could die in a car crash, or suffer from a heart attack, or some angry world leader could drop a nuclear bomb on your hometown.  Think about that timeline that we talked about before that represents eternity; if you don’t wake up tomorrow, where will you be for the rest of eternity?

So now you are standing before God and he asks the question “Why should I let you into my heaven”.  What would you say?  Well, God loves you as much as anyone has ever loved you in your entire life, and he wants you to be with Him in heaven.  He wants to give you this gift of heaven, but you must be willing to accept it.  Think of this gift of heaven as an actual wrapped present that is always with you.  When you go to bed at night, it’s next to your bed.  When you go to work it’s sitting next to you.  It’s with you day and night wherever you go.  You can open this gift any time you want, and when you do, you get to spend eternity in heaven, and if you don’t open this gift, you spend eternity in hell.  So what do you do?  This gift is called grace, and it is God’s everlasting love for you.  Why not open it?

We need to explore this gift more, but first let’s talk about ourselves, and more specifically our basic human nature.  This human nature of ours has a lot to do with selfishness and pride.  We may think that we aren’t such bad people, and we certainly aren’t “sinners”.  But think about this; how many murders do you have to commit to be a murderer?  Well that answer would be one of course.  Then how many sins do you have to commit to be a sinner?  Think about a typical day in your life.  Something wrong that you did, a bad attitude you had towards someone, or the opportunity to do the right thing that you didn’t do.  Suppose you commit just three sins a day.  Multiply that out by a typical lifespan, and you would have committed 70,000 sins in a lifetime.  That makes us all sinners.  Since God created everything, He is the definition of what is good, and in heaven, He cannot allow badness or sin to exist in his heaven.  So how can he let people who have all of this selfishness and sin into His heaven?

Like we said, God loves us, he is merciful, and he doesn’t want to punish us.  But he must punish sin.  Just as a murderer must be punished for committing a murder, we also must be punished for committing the sins that we commit everyday.  Consider that by some odd circumstance you killed someone.  By accident or on purpose, you did it.  You go to trial, and the judge finds you guilty and you are sentenced to death.  Your day comes to be executed and you go to get the lethal injection.  There are many witnesses at the execution including the judge that sentenced you to die.  Just as you are about to be injected with the poison and die, someone walks up and asks the judge if he can take the injection instead of you.  The judge says that this is acceptable, and this total stranger takes the injection and dies.  You walk away free, never to be accused of the murder again.  This seems too good to be true but what if it happened?  And it happened already, 2,000 years ago when Jesus died a horrible painful death nailed to a cross.  He took the guilt of our sins upon himself and God, the final judge, said that this punishment for all of our sins was acceptable.  Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s gift to us.  It is that present that is next to us all day long that we are waiting to unwrap.  If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, God sees us as people whose punishment has been taken care of, and we may enter His heaven.

So you think to yourself that sure Christianity is one way to heaven, but there are a lot of religions out there.  Why can’t they all be acceptable?  If you believe this, then you have to assume that God can’t make up his mind about this heaven thing.  But if we now say that believing in Jesus is the way to heaven, then we can’t say that any old belief will get me into heaven because Jesus said: “The only way to the father is through the Son.”  That means that everything else just won’t work, but why should I believe that Christianity is right and all other religions are wrong?  Well there are lots of books that can talk about this in detail, but let’s look at one example from the Bible.  First of all, Jesus appeared to all of the apostles (the twelve men who followed him closely in His last years) to confirm that he had risen from the dead.  All but one of these apostles died for their faith in Jesus, and most of them could have avoided execution if they simply renounced their belief in Jesus.  I doubt that anyone would die for a belief that they knew was false.

There is a significant amount of other evidence that confirms the evidence in the bible including confirming writings from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Samaritan historian Thallus, and the Jewish Talmud.  In addition there are over 2,000 specific prophecies from the Old Testament written well before Jesus’ time that predicted different aspects of Jesus and His ministry which were all realized with the coming of Jesus.  Jesus performed miracles wherever he went, and there are no first century eyewitnesses or historians who ever denied his miracles.

So let’s get back to this gift that’s been sitting beside of us all of our lives.  How do we go about unwrapping this gift so that we can spend eternity in heaven?  The answer is pretty simple and it is something that is called faith.   One definition of faith would be believing in something that you cannot see.  Believing in an event that took place 2,000 years ago would be an example of faith.  There are a lot of books that discuss the evidence of Jesus’ life and provide solid evidence as to why we should believe Jesus and His claims, and a list of some of these is included at the end of this discussion.  Therefore, you don’t have to think of faith as a blind belief in something.  But if you examine the evidence, you will find that all of the claims of Christianity are true.  Of course you will probably have some doubts in your mind about some of this, but that is where faith comes into play.  Faith is trusting God with the things that you are unsure of knowing that He will reveal the truth to you as you investigate them further.

Now it’s decision time.  Jesus is knocking at your door asking you to receive the gift of heaven.  Are you willing to accept this gift?  All you have to do is believe that Jesus is Lord of your life, ask that he forgive the bad things (sins) that you have done throughout your life, and trust that he will protect you as you experience troubles in the future.  In addition, you need to start living a life that will be pleasing to God.  After all, He just gave you eternal life in heaven; we owe Him a life that honors Him.  No matter what bad things you have done in the past, you are forgiven if you ask for forgiveness.  That seems pretty simple, and it is, but don’t stop now.  Read about Jesus and learn what great plans that He has for your life and for eternity.  Learn how to serve Him so that someday you can stand before Him and heaven, and he will look at you and say “Well done good and faithful servant.”

For further reading:

The Bible:
Try a modern translation such as the New King James (NKJ) version, New International Version (NIV), or the New American Standard (NAS).  The King James Version that you may be familiar with that has the “thee”s and “thou”s was written 400 years ago, and is difficult for a lot of people to read.  Begin by reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and go from there.   You can also look for online bibles such as:
Various Language Bibles:  biblegateway.com
Arabic Bible:  arabicbible.com 

More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell.  This is a book for people who are skeptical about Jesus’ claims to being God and His resurrection.  This book discusses why Jesus is different from others who claim to be God, science in relation to Jesus, the reliability of the Bible, and other topics in an easy to read 120 pages.

The New Answers Book (Three Books 1, 2 and 3), by Ken Ham.  Answers common questions concerning creation, evolution, and other issues that often keep from believing that the bible is true.
Also See:  answersingenesis.org

Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.  This book discusses in more detail the trustworthiness of the Bible, historical prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, evidence of the resurrection, and other topics to show the validity of Jesus life and claims.
 
The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.  The book discusses the reliability of the Gospel record and its details based upon non-Biblical records and other testimony.
 
Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey.  This book answers tough questions about Christianity in relation to current world views of religion.
 
Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis.  An intellectual discussion of the basic questions of God and the universe.
 
Without a Doubt, by Kenneth R. Samples.   A discussion of God, Jesus, science, world religions, morality and other topics of interest.

www.gotquestions.org :  A web site that answers a multitude of questions regarding science, creation, the existence of God, and numerous other topics.

Questions?  email questions@heavenin10.com

https://www.facebook.com/heavenin10minutes

Note:
Feel free to translate and share this information as you desire.  Please be accurate with God’s word when sharing information.

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A prayer for those who live alone

I live alone, dear Lord, stay by my side,
In all my daily needs be my guide.
Grant me good health, for that I pray,
To carry on my work from day to day.
Keep pure my mind, my thoughts, my every deed,
Let me be kind and unselfish in my neighbor’s need.
Spare me from fire, from flood and
Malicious tongues,
From thieves, from fear, and evil ones.
If sickness or an accident befall,
Then humbly, Lord, I pray, hear my call.
And when I’m feeling low, or in despair,
Lift up my heart, and help me in my prayer.
I live alone, dear Lord, yet have no fear,
Because I feel Your presence ever near. Amen.

In the morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune. (Psalm 90: 14-15)

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Life….

LIFE….
LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.
Psalm 39:4 , NLT

Life is short no matter how long we live. If there is something important we want to do, we must not put it off for a better day.

Ask yourself, “If I had only six months to live, what would I do?” Tell someone that you love him or her? Deal with an undisciplined area in your life? Tell someone about Jesus? Because life is short, don’t neglect what is truly important.

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a date with the other woman…..

A DATE WITH THE OTHER WOMAN

After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love. A little while ago I started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife’s idea.

“I know you love her,” she said one day, taking me by surprise.

“But I love YOU!” I protested.

“I know, but you also love her.”

The other woman my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years. The demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night, I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

“What’s wrong, are you well,” she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

“I thought it would be pleasant to pass some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”

She thought about it for a moment, then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday, after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the doorway with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s.

“I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady.

After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Halfway through the entree, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.

“It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said.

“Then it’s time you relaxed and let me return the favor,” I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary – just catching up on recent events of each other’s lives. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed and kissed her good night.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home.

“Very nice. Much nicer than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her.

Sometime later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn’t be there, but, never-the-less, I paid for two plates –one for you and the other for you wife. You will never know what that night meant to me. I love you.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying, “I LOVE YOU” in time, and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot always be put off to “some other time.”

— Author Unknown

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a long or a short ride what will it be?

THE RIDE

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life
for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a
ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving
confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and
told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me,
ennobled me, made me laugh and weep. But none touched me more than a woman I
picked up late one August night.

I responded to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town.
I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just
had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some
factory in the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the
building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait
a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who
depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation
smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be
someone who needed my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the
door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something
being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small
woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a
pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one
had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There
were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In
the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took
my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my
kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I
would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive
through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have
very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the
building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through
the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were
newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had
once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d
ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit
staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m
tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building,
like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were
solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been
expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.
The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me
tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a
door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in
thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman
had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What
if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a
quick review, I don’t think that I have done very many more important things
in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But
great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others
may consider small ones.

— Author Unknown

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the first Adam and the last Adam

One failed and brought death on all His descendants. The other was faithful, bringing life through His death and resurrection.

And if we take the time to read Scripture more carefully, we see how deeply the parallels run. The ways in which Jesus is similar to, and yet better than Adam, are astonishing:

The first Adam yielded to temptation in a garden. The Last Adam beat temptation in a garden. The first man, Adam, sought to become like God. The Last Adam was God who became a man. The first Adam was naked and received clothes. The Last Adam had clothes but was stripped. The first Adam tasted death from a tree. The Last Adam tasted death on a tree. The first Adam hid from the face of God, while the Last Adam begged God not to hide His face.

The first Adam blamed his bride, while the Last Adam took the blame for His bride. The first Adam earned thorns. The Last Adam wore thorns. The first Adam gained a wife when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gained a wife when man opened God’s side. The first Adam brought a curse. The Last Adam became a curse. While the first Adam fell by listening when the Serpent said “take and eat,” the Last Adam told His followers, “take and eat, this is my body.”

We celebrate this last event today—Jesus’ final meal with His Disciples, and His new command that we “love one another.” In giving Christians this meal, He sealed His role as Adam’s replacement.

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